Both Iowa City West teams impress at state-qualifying track meet

Trojans each win team titles, look ahead to state

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IOWA CITY — The Iowa City West boys’ track and field team had just completed its victory lap around Iowa City High’s Raffensperger Track.

Their coach, Travis Craig, rushed down with the state-qualifier banner as his team went screaming and hollering toward the infield. Craig lagged a bit behind, talking quietly to his assistant coaches. Then, all of the sudden, Trojans girls’ head track coach Mike Parker came over, fist-bumped Craig and said, “let’s do it again.”

He was referring, of course, to the 2007 season in which the Trojans won state titles in both boys’ and girls’ track. Craig was an assistant during that season while Parker was in his 10th year as a head coach at the time.

“They called it double dominance back then,” Parker said. “They won the conference championships as we did last week and now we’re both state qualifiers. Both teams are looking for some great stuff next weekend.”

Both state-qualifying meet winners, neither coach is going to have to look far.

There were tremendous performances throughout the meet, especially in the distance events. West won nearly every distance race during the meet, sweeping the 800-meter runs and sprint medley relays on both the boys’ and girls’ side.

West got three individual wins alone from 2016 cross-country state champion Bailey Nock, who took the 800, 1,500 and the 3,000. Kolby Greiner took the boys’ equivalent in the two longer races for the Trojans, winning both the 1,600 and 3,200.

“I kind of was going into it expecting to do the best I could,” Nock said. “That put me at the front, so that was pretty cool.”

The wins, however, were not limited to the distance races. Gabe Caruthers ran a 21.97 in the 200 meters, and the 1,600-meter relay team grabbed the title in 3:20.75. Caruthers was part of that relay, as was Austin West (winner of the 400-meter hurdles as well), Derek Nugent (800 champ) and Chris Low.

“It feels pretty good to see the guys as happy as they are,” Craig said. “We’ve never lost faith in each other and I think that’s evident tonight.”

It wasn’t just speed that helped West — it took guts as well. Trojan star Valerie Welch — who had already won the long jump and the 100-meter hurdles— was a little over halfway through the 400-meter hurdles, when she tripped and fell.

Getting back up, she managed to make up the time she’d lost, edging out City High’s Merryl Green by less than a tenth of a second.

l Comments: jordan.hansen@thegazette.com

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